Important end of life issues: We don't want to think about it but, we must plan for it!

The medical, scientific, and theological community all agree... our time in the place is limited and one day we all will pass. We all start dying at the moment we are born. Some of die sooner that others but we all will inevitably die. We ALL need to accept that fact an plan accordingly. Without proper planning we could end up being placed on artificial life support possibly suffering for extended periods of time. Watch this "60 Minutes episode

In 1990 congress passed the "Patient Self-Determination Act" (PSDA) which provides the patient the right to facilitate their own health care decisions, the right to accept or refuse medical treatment and the right to make an advance health care directive,There are a few steps that need to be taken to make sure that your wishes are followed in a case where you might not be able to express them yourself. The following steps should be taken to ensure your wishes are followed:

1. Create an Advance Medical Directive (Living will) That CLEARLY describes how you want end of life conditions and treatments to be managed.

2. Choose a person to make medical decisions on your behalf in case you are unable to.and assign them to act on your behalf for medical issues through the use of a Medical Power of Attorney/Healthcare proxy. The agent is empowered when a qualified physician determines that the primary individual is unable to make decisions regarding health care. The agent has the power to remove or sustain feeding tubes from the primary individual if these tubes are the only things that are keeping the primary individual alive. The agent's decision stems from knowledge of the patient's desire in this matter. If the primary individual made his or her wishes clear on the proxy form, then they must be followed despite any possible objections from the agent. Beyond this matter, if there are no limitations on the health care proxy form, the agent can make most other decisions in accordance with what the primary individual would have wanted. An agent will not be legally or financially liable for decisions made on behalf of the primary individual as long as they take into account the primary individual's wishes and beliefs.

3. Discuss your Advance Medical Directive with the person you have designated to execute your Medical Power of Attorney and make sure they understand your directives and are capable of taking the appropriate actions if necessary. This ensures that the executor has no feelings of remorse execution the directives you have specified.

4. Make sure all your physicians and facilities have a copy of your advance medical directive.

Why should I worry about my death while I'm still "Awake, Alert, and Aware"?
We don't know when our life and health will take us to death's doorstep (I was having a chemotherapy session when the hospital was shaken by an earthquake) various unavoidable events not related to any chronic issues we may be dealing could leave us unable to accurately respond to health care professionals at a time when critical decisions need to be made (You've been totally unresponsive in a coma for six months, A respiration is keeping you breathing, You are being fed by a tube. However your electroencephalogram shows that you have significant brain activity). Modern medicine will keep the body functioning even when you have no ability to interact with the real world. Is that a life you want to live? Do you want to subject your family and friends to prolonged grief? Without appropriate directives known this is a real possibility. Take a look at this 60 minutes episode on The cost of "End of life care"

Do yourself, your family and your friends a favor and take the appropriate actions to be sure you don't end up slowly fading away in a dork corner of some intensive care unit!You should do some research on Hospice and the effort to provide comfort and support to persons actively dying at the end of life, The modern concept of hospice includes palliative care for the incurably ill given in such institutions as hospitals or nursing homes, but also care provided to those who would rather die in their own homes